SoCal sewage is feminizing bottom fish

Like many of their land-bound counterparts, male fish off the coast of Southern California are developing female sex characteristics. In the fishes’ case it goes beyond metrosexuality — we’re talking ovary tissue in the testes (ew). Researchers strongly suspect sewage laced with human-made hormone-disrupting chemicals. Two separate studies, one in the field and one in a lab, found signs of chick-ness in bottom-dwelling English sole, hornyhead turbot, and halibut. And if you’re called “hornyhead,” that’s really got to hurt. Sexual abnormalities have been found in other creatures around the world, but this is one of the first times they’ve been seen in ocean animals. So far no drop-offs in population numbers for the affected species have been detected. “There’s definitely estrogenic activity out there; no doubt,” said ecotoxicologist Dan Schlenk. “But whether it affects populations of the animals is the question we need to answer.”